Newsy bits

Part-time Gisborne rose breeder Mike Athy has won the largest rose trial in the United States with a white-flowered climbing rose.

The plant, as yet without a commercial name, won five out of 11 categories at the Biltmore International Rose Trial, including the “outstanding rose of the trial” title. Read the full story here.

The trial grounds are in the historic rose gardens of the Biltmore estate, built by the millionaire George Vanderbilt in the style of French chateau, in Asheville, North Carolina.

Sad news from the Sculpture Park @ Waitakaruru Aboretum — the park gates close to the general public at the end of June and the Waikato Sculpture Trust will go into recess. From July 1 the park will be open by appointment only and to annual pass holders. Bookings for weddings, concerts, and organised groups will still be welcomed.

Over the past almost 9 years the park — in the countryside between Hamilton, Cambridge and Morrinsville — has been open daily and there have been 24 exhibitions with visitor numbers building to 9000 annually.

The Trust Board is still looking at ways of securing funding and volunteers will continue to maintain the grounds.

Visitors enjoy a piece in the 2011 Winter exhibition.

The park itself has been a 20-year rehabilitation project of a former quarry which is now home to a botanically diverse range of trees and shrubs. The owners of the land, John and Dorothy Wakeling, have protected the 17.5ha of trees for the next 50 years as a permanent carbon sink.